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Ibsen and Cosmopolitanism: A Chinese and Cross-cultural Perspective

Ning Wang


To secure a better understanding of Ibsen and his relations with cosmopolitanism, one should start from the redefinition of the controversial concept of cosmopolitanism. After reconceptualizing cosmopolitanism in terms of ten forms, the author points out that Ibsen’s relations with cosmopolitanism are best represented by three aspects of his work: (1) Ibsen’s cosmopolitan ideas and diasporic experience; (2) the cosmopolitan subject matter of Ibsen’s plays and the global significance of his works; (3) Ibsen’s global concern and his position in world literature. As the play Peer Gynt stands out as the most cosmopolitan piece of Ibsen’s writing, it is analyzed from a cosmopolitan perspective in the article. Given that Ibsen’s cosmopolitan elements find embodiment in the different adaptations and productions of his plays around the world, particularly in China, the author holds that Ibsen not only wrote for his contemporary and local readers and audience but also for other times and other peoples. Such cosopolitan character of his concern, pespective, and writing accounts well for why Ibsen has such wide international reputation and influence.


: cosmopolitanism, Ibsen, diaspora, Peer Gynt, global concern

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The Johns Hopkins University Press

ISSN: 1920-1222

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